The future of the genealogy society has been discussed much in my profession as of late. Many feel as though their time has passed. Others now see societies as educational beacons.
A typical society will act as an educational resource, holding classes and hosting speakers at their meetings. In September, I’m one of the guest speakers at the genealogy conference at the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society: www.kdgs.ca in British Columbia.
Many societies try to match the needs of their members by forming special groups, such as an Irish Interest Group. Others focus around technology. Some societies focus on record preservation, through indexing and publishing programs. I use such indexes in my client research constantly. I am so grateful when I find what I’m looking for in a book or on an online database.
While societies can be on the state level, such as the Ohio Genealogical Society: www.ogs.org others are on the county level, such as the Franklin County Genealogical Society: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohfcghs/In this case, the Franklin County society would be a chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society.
Then there are Irish societies. For example, the Irish Genealogical Society International concentrates specifically on the world of Irish genealogy: www.irishgenealogical.org Their membership is international and their journal The Septs is the prime Irish genealogical journal in the United States. I have a regular column in this journal.
If you do not belong to a society I would suggest you look into it. See what educational programs they sponsor, and most important, what talents you can offer them.